A lot of moms who put all of the time, effort, and money into learning how to become a conscious, positive, or gentle parent find that they’re incredibly passionate about the topic. I know I was! I really wanted to prevent children from suffering in the ways that I did. I absolutely loved learning everything I could about human relationships and about child development. When the possibility of becoming a parenting coach was introduced to me, I thought it sounded like an absolutely amazing way to both help people and earn a living.
While you might meet strong proponents for either the Jai Institute for Parenting or Dr. Shefali’s Certification Program, a lot of people reach out to me because they’re on the fence between the two and want to know what I think about both of them. So today’s article will hopefully answer those questions and give you some insight into both programs and what to choose.
It’s so exciting to think about running a coaching business and helping people do what you love! But both of these programs are a lot of money (Shefali’s is $8,500-$9,000 and at the time of writing Jai’s has been reduced to $4,750 per their website) and you want to make sure that you make the right choice. In my opinion, there are a lot of OTHER things to take into consideration before you begin either program.
It may help you first to know the truth about becoming a conscious parenting coach:
- You will not make a lot of money quickly
- Running your own business is more time-consuming than working for someone else
- You will have to overcome any mindset blocks you have about your worth, money, and external validation
- You have to either learn how to DIY or hire someone to build your website, run digital marketing campaigns for you, pitch you to be featured, and guide you in the process
- Coaching is not covered by insurance (usually) so you have to find clients that have the disposable income and desire to do this work, which often are NOT the people you set out thinking you’re going to be helping
- You must have the time to build authority somewhere: in your local area through talks or workshops or online via podcasts, a YouTube channel, social media, blogs, etc.
- Finally, you have to be willing to tell your story and ask people to buy from you… a lot of people who are “helpers” really hate doing both
About the money…
Coaches are followed for 6+ months before someone trusts them enough to buy from them. While the coaching certification programs are nice and do build some trust, neither company has spent a lot of time or money in building awareness campaigns about their philosophy. Dr. Shefali has done the most work in this regard but does not, for example, run ads encouraging people to sign up with “her” coaches. The Jai Institute does a little more work trying to build awareness and promote their coaches, but they mostly attract people who want to get the certification program themselves. In other words, rather than being coached by someone, the people who find Jai usually would rather just spend the money on learning how to be a coach themselves.
This is not like other service-based businesses where people just search for a coach and hire you on the spot. If people DO find you (which takes a lot of work to begin with), you must have the entire system set up for them to stay in touch with and be nurtured by you. This alone can take at least six months if not a year or more to set up, and you’ll build it over and over while you refine who you are and who, specifically, you want to work with.
You also need to be of service — for free or very low cost — in order to build up a library of testimonials, case studies, social proof, reviews, or other ways that people can say, “Yes, she knows what she’s doing!” Coaching is not a low-cost service and there’s already a low or no cost substitution: therapy. You’ll have to educate your potential clients on how you are different from therapy so they choose you over what their insurance will cover.
My recommendation? Don’t quit your job until you have a thriving practice that you can no longer run part-time. Until then, you can absolutely build your business after hours. You cannot build a coaching practice helping other people while the weight of finances bears down on you. Parenting or relationship coaching is not like business coaching. People are more likely to spend money learning how to make more money than they are on learning how to not screw up their kids. That’s the sad truth. One is easy to justify, the other… for a lot of people, it’s hard to justify their own worth and need for care and support. There’s shame around parenting and family dysfunction. There’s no shame around learning how to make money!
But, back to what you’re here for:
I personally am certified by the Jai Institute for Parenting. Dr. Shefali launched her program after my certification was complete, but I did go through her two, year-long courses live with her (The Year of The Awakened Heart and The Year of Manifestation) prior to her launch. In my situation, it made more sense for me to spend that kind of money on a degree rather than another certification program. I ended up going back to school and getting a BS in Business Administration, Marketing Management. Remember what I said earlier about learning how to run a business? Yep… that was the more pressing need and I’m so glad I did it. I’m currently working on my MBA as well.
I’m going to discuss what I know about each program and the businesses themselves, but if you want to hear from someone who has personally experienced Dr. Shefali’s Coaching Certification Program, I’m not your girl.
The Jai Institute for Parenting
The Jai Institute’s Parent Coach Certification offer is a 6-month program. You spend the first three months going through the client-side education first while being coached by their faculty. Before, I would have complained about this curriculum, but the Institute was sold back to an original co-founder (Kiva Schuler) and the curriculum has since been revamped. Now it is very deep and covers a lot of great topics like attachment science, nervous system science, and brain science. When I attended, several books were required reading and they were fantastic and REALLY helped me understand what children need, but they weren’t a part of the course itself (so if you didn’t do the homework, you would have missed out).
The second half of the program is focused on learning how to coach. When I attended, we were assigned a buddy who we talked to each week, and at this point, we started coaching each other. I actually do not like this model as they basically have you establish a friendship first and then try to go to the container of coaching, which, in my experience, is not a great idea. I’m not sure if it’s still this way. I believe that now they have you find someone else to coach so you are supported while you navigate that first client. This is the way it should be. You’ll want to ask questions or have supervision during this process.
Now they’ve added four more weeks that are just business coaching. Given Kiva’s background in marketing, I imagine this is far more robust than what I experienced. She does provide appropriate sales scripts and mindset help. When I attended, the push was to start off charging high rates, but Kiva has a much more realistic mindset about being ok with charging less while you build your business. Do know that she does have other offers to help you grow your business, from building a website for you to a mastermind. I recommend Dana Malstaff’s Nurture to Convert Society over this, however. I’ll do a post about that another day but feel free to join our group, Soul Sages, and ask me about it!
I have seen some Jai graduates, with money to invest upfront in marketing & advertising, build large businesses.
- More affordable
- Great education on child development
- Will help you in your own journey as a parent
- Helps you experience the transformative power of coaching while attending
- Run by someone who has more experience with helping others build and market their businesses
- Doesn’t focus as much on the parent’s/coach’s own healing and growth, which is the most important credential
- Focuses more on tactics than on your power to help the client tap into their own wisdom
- Jai recently left Facebook groups behind so you have to go to another platform for their community
- The method itself is confusing and can leave you feeling unprepared
Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parenting Certification
When I studied under Dr. Shefali, she was so against tactics and methods and just wanted everyone to evolve. Shefali was super clear on what she was about: using our children as the catalyst to grow up. I love that she’s decided to come a little more into the form of it and create a framework or method.
The great thing about Shefali is that she’s a clinical psychologist, so she brought all of that education to her Eastern wisdom. Being in her classes for two years felt like going to school to become a psychologist. I learned SO much from her and am still truly grateful for the experience of being woken up.
But her teachings aren’t the whole story, in the same way most other guru’s aren’t. When I was in her classes, my children were young and never triggering, but my husband was. Though I harassed her endlessly with my “what about him…” questions, she was not really willing to connect the growth possible from the catalyst of children to the growth possible from the catalyst of our adult relationships. This was work that I did on my own. Even her Year of the Awakened Heart never actually taught me how to open my heart… Dr. Laura Berman’s book, Quantum Love, did that. The world of psychology is very focused on self-development and the individual, and it’s just not the whole story. I also never learned about emotions from her, learning what I know about them from Karla McLaren instead. Nor did I learn about boundaries from her, which are a huge component of my work.
So this knowledge of the missing pieces of Shefali’s work does hinder my perception, but I will say that the pieces that ARE present are profound.
While I haven’t attended her 5-month program, my friends have. I asked all of them for reviews about how it helped them as a coach and business owner and not one of them responded, so take that as you will. From my friends that I have had conversations with, they all shared that her program is a TON of work. It’s a mountain of reading and homework, so it seems to be very academic. I believe her support is great from a coaching aspect, that she has others help her with supervision and that you see a lot of coaching in action via videos of her coaching a former employee.
I, personally, have not seen her graduates build large businesses.
- Dr. Shefali is a clinical psychologist so I’m sure she brings a lot of that education and practice experience to her program
- She has done more work on awareness and marketing (as Oprah’s “favorite parenting expert”) so you may have clients find you through her
- Her coaching certification program does include some business support and the tactics I’ve observed by her coaches are a good start
- Dr. Shefali herself has made this journey from helper to a successful business owner
- Less affordable (and know that it’s prohibitive by design… also take that as you will)
- As far as I know, you do not have the same experience of being coached weekly by an expert coach during your program
- There is a prerequisite to take her other classes first so you can’t just read her book and sign up–you have to have some of your own evolution underway first
- It’s not the whole story (but none are)
Why is this choice important?
Actually, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a terribly important choice. Let me explain. Most coaches take multiple courses, certification programs, or classes. No one course ever feels like enough to make you well-rounded and ready to help another human being on their journey. I took Shefali’s courses, Jai’s certification program, Reiki training, Suzi Lula’s classes and Self Care coach training (which was actually incredibly helpful and I highly recommend it), Heart Math’s certification program, etc. I’ve read hundreds of books, wrote two books, and I continue to do my own work every day.
Your own degree of consciousness is your highest and best credential.
Period. My own coaching method helps my clients shift out of fear and into love. I cannot coach you from a place of fear, and a lot of coaches I meet still drop down to that place. My own energy is as important to your coaching experience as my knowledge. The knowledge helps, sure, and I love to give my clients advice and tactics when they truly need them, but the most beneficial thing I do for my clients is my own work.
If you want to be a coach, plan to take as many programs as you can. Plan to take one every year if they’re expensive like both of these options. You must continue growing if you want to coach others. In my opinion, a great coach (or therapist, for that matter), spends much of their time deconstructing and understanding every trigger and depleting emotion in their life. They push the edges of their comfort zone and continue to hone their skills in empathy, communication, and leadership. They never take an “us vs. them” or “in here vs. out there” approach to ANYTHING.
Anyone who joins you in blaming the “other” for your problems isn’t yet qualified to coach you.
Which program do I recommend?
If you’re brand new to parenting and want to improve your knowledge and parenting skills, I recommend The Jai Institute.
If you’re brand new to personal growth and want to evolve into your best self, I recommend Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parent Coaching Certification Program.
If you’re brand new to coaching and want to become a powerful coach, I actually recommend someone else entirely: Suzi Lula’s Soul Care Coaching Certification Program.
Yep, I threw a brand new one in there. Suzi just started offering this program this year and, while I didn’t sign up for it, I have taken enough classes with Suzi to know that she is the real deal when it comes to coaching itself. She has been doing this for 20 years and has a lot of wisdom to offer. Her coaching is probably the most aligned to my coaching style but I just think she’s one of the best people to help you become a coach. You can always add a specialty later.
And if you’re wanting to become a powerful relationship coach or marriage and family therapist, stay tuned! I’m working on something with Dr. Laura Berman that will take you to the next level.
Want to dive into this world and bring your consciousness work into all areas of your life? Sounds like you’d be a perfect fit for my Facebook community, Soul Sages! Come join us inside today!